The Next Web Conference was held in Amsterdam last Friday (June 1). The organizers had a last minute speaker back-out: Plazes CEO Felix Petersen emailed them the day before the conference to say that he couldn’t make it because they were dealing with bugs on their new product, and that his “9 month old daughter has become sick.”
The problem, though, is that Peterson didn’t stay home to work on their product and take care of his daughter. He was actually attending a competing conference, Reboot, in Copenhagen.
How was this discovered? The Next Web guys used Petersen’s own Plazes, a service which shows where users are at any given time. Peterson’s Plazes account clearly showed him in Copenhagen at Reboot on June 1, drinking wine and beer, listening to music, and enjoying “incredible conversations.” “Reboot just rocks,” he writes.
Needless to say the Next Web guys were somewhat offended. And they outed Peterson in a big way today. Next Web co-founder Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten wrote about the whole incident on his personal blog. He writes:
Ok, Reboot seems to rock after some dinner, beer and wine. Great. The amazing thing is not that Felix would rather go to Reboot. I respect that. The amazing thing is that someone would lie about the health of his children to be able to drink beer at another conference and then assume that no one would find out.
I have an email in to Peterson for his side of the story. No word back yet.
Update: Felix Petersen writes:
I must say I´m really confused by the commotion. My kid was sick on Tursday and it wasn´t entirely clear wether I could attend thenextweb the next day. In addition did we have some issues with the new Plazer (http://blog.plazes.com/?p=157#comments) and Stefan, my co-founder was coming to Reboot on Friday. So for professional and personal issues I decided to cancel since I wasn´t sure at that point that I could make it. Boris forgot to mention the last part of my email:
“And to be fair to you guys I rather cancel now than trying until the last minute and then not being able to come afterall.”
So I can´t really see what the commotion is about.
I actually don’t care that much about the specifics – I think it’s fascinating that Plazes can and is being used to check up on people, though, to see if they are being honest about their whereabouts.